The Israeli government intends to bar all Palestinians workers from entering Israel for work by 2008; the Palestinian Authority warned that such a plan is considered a disaster for the Palestinian economy which is already collapsing.

The World Bank said that it approved ending the Palestinian dependence on Israel, but said that this step is premature, while Israel is pushing the plan forward with or without a peace agreement.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that this step is part of the Unilateral Disengagement plan which aims to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and part of the West Bank by this summer and complete the construction of the Separation Wall in the West Bank. 

Most of the Palestinian laborers who enter Israel work in construction, agriculture and blue-collar jobs, although earning more than they can earn in the Palestinian areas, they still earned much less than Israeli workers.

A former Israeli peace negotiator, and Finance Ministry official Avi Ben-Bassat, said that the Israeli government actually began this step in the mid-1990 after a wav of suicide bombings.

Israel, which lacks labors, replaced most of the Palestinian workers with migrants from Thailand, Romania and other countries.

According to Israel army, currently only 8500 Palestinian workers from the West Bank and 2900 from the Gaza Strip are allowed each day in Israel, 20000 workers enter Israel illegally.

Ben-Bassat said that barring the entry of Palestinian workers will not have negative effect on the Israeli economy.

Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said that this step “will benefit both sides on the long run, since it will foster an independent Palestinian economy”.  

Palestinian Labor Minister, Hasan Abu LIbdeh, said that the Palestinian economy is already unable to provide jobs to the Palestinians.